A gallant Prahran Assumption failed by just two points to win successive premierships in a thrilling grand final contest with Bulleen Templestowe at Central Reserve, Glen Waverley on Sunday (September 16).
Sometimes in sport there is honour in defeat and the Two Blues deserve that accolade after the bravest of efforts against a quality opponent.
Coach Ash Mills and president Fab Maya summed up the thoughts of all supporters when they told the crestfallen players the club was proud of their performance.
"The sad part is we don't get a re-union with this team,'' Mills said.
Skipper Adam Sleight said the loss hurt.
"But good football clubs stick together in times like this,'' he said.
Any prospective recruit watching the game would surely have walked away impressed by the whole hearted effort of the Two Blues and showing grace in the face of a heart breaking narrow loss.
Only two clubs, Parkdale and Prahran Assumption, achieved double promotion in 2012, so despite the pain of grand final defeat the season was a success.
To get within two points of Bulleen Templestowe following a 92 point hiding in round one completed one of the great comebacks in the VAFA.
This was a grand final to savour with intense pressure and flashes of silky skills from both teams.
The lead changed six times as the momentum switched from either team.
With the scores level at half-time, the Two Blues moved to an 19 point lead with the first three goals of the third quarter from Paul Donahoo, Adam Sleight anjd Adam Simpson only for the Bullants to kick the next four goals.
The Two Blues kicked the first two goals of last quarter through Ash Parsons and Simpson to take an eight point lead.
The Bullants stars Paul Florance and Kristian Cherbakof then rose to the occasion as they made their victory charge with three unanswered goals.
Even when the Bullants drew away with a nine point lead in time on the Two Blues kept coming with another goal to Simpson.
Bulleen Templestowe 11-11 (77) defeated the Two Blues 10-15 (75) but at the final siren just one point separated the teams.
The Bullants kicked a point from a free kick after the siren to extend the margin to two points.
While Florance was controversially awarded the man of the match medal Blayne Dempsey was the stand out best player on the ground even in the eyes of impartial watchers.
His high marking was a highlight, especially in a tense first quarter, and he regularly started attacks with his pin point disposal.
The Two Blues defence was outstanding throughout the finals series and proved so again on Sunday with Dale Barrett and Liam Hunt providing great support.
Despite Florance's last quarter heroics, his rival Ed MacDonald more than held his own and restricted the Bullants' star to 15 possessions.
Up forward Simpson (four goals) and Sleight (two) were constant threats while Jamie Robbins endured a frustrating day with several near misses.
Ash Parsons, man of the match in last year's grand final, earned special kudos for his brave effort considering he was restricted with a bruised sternum injury from the preliminary final.
He out the Two Blues back in front early in the last quarter after an inspirational Ryan Costin tackle on speedy Jesse Wilson allowed him to run into an open goal and then minutes latter was involved in a chain of passes resulting in a Simpson goal.
As coach Mills told his players after the game the challenge is now there to take another step up in standard as the club prepares for a return to Division 1 football.
Special mention should be made of Michael Bremner who played the first 20 games of the year only to be dropped for the grand final.
He showed his true club spirit by continually supporting his teammates while understandablty shattered to miss out on another grand final.
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 3-1 4-5 7-10 10-15 (75)
BULLEEN TEMPLESTOWE 2-2 4-5 8-8 11-11 (77)
Goals: Simpson 4, Sleight 2, Parsons 2, Donahoo, MacDonald.
Best: Dempsey, Barrett, MacDonald, Davey, Donahoo, Parsons.